Wikimedia Forum/Archives/2014-06

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Preparing for RfC on Antispam practices

I have, over the years, stumbled across situations where the antispam tools, particularly global locks and the global blacklist, have been used for purposes other than the prevention of clear spam.

I am collecting and researching possible cases of this, and my purpose today is to solicit participation in this project.

User:Abd/Antispam practices

Reasons for locking and blacklisting, other than for clear spam or vandalism, have varied, but the common thread in this examination is the usage of these tools where, on a single project, blocking or blacklisting would not be normal.

Because of common antispam practices, behavior that, noticed on a single project, might result in no warning or sanction, can, when done globally, result in blacklisting or locking (which is far more intrusive and inflexible than an ordinary block). Policies regarding global locks and the global blacklist, such as exist, do not cover this, and appear to prohibit it.

Global locks have been used against users with edits on only one wiki, and no blocks, which was clearly not contemplated when global locking procedures were set up. (One steward opined that disruption on 10 projects might be enough to justify a global lock.)

Because the intention of the global lock tool was only for uncontroversial actions, the only appeal is to Steward requests/Global, where discussion is disliked and may be summarily removed, the page not being designed or operated for community participation, other than reporting or requests. The effect can be that if a user is globally locked, there is no appeal beyond a single steward who might decline the appeal. There is no public discussion, generally, and the page is fast-archived.

Global locks are being interpreted as a global ban, in spite of common opinion (and policy) that global locks are not global bans. In one case, a user, Kurt4, was blocked on itwiki, then globally locked by the steward who had a dispute with him on that wiki, and then, when the user created a disclosed sock on enwiki, Francesds, to continue his work there, the sock was locally blocked for "block evasion." No related account was blocked at that time on enwiki. There are many who believe that a global lock is a global ban, effectively, that socks may then be blocked on sight, and must be appealed at meta, and the user was so advised.

But when the user then appealed at meta (Incorrectly filed as a global unblock request), the IP was globally blocked for sock puppetry, by the steward who had locked both accounts, even though there were no edits from this IP other than that appeal. The entire discussion was removed as "useless"[1]. The removal, instead of the normal archiving, caused the filing to be invisible to search.

My purpose here is not to argue the specific case, other than to show that the reality of global locking is that appealing a global lock and/or spam blacklistings, can be very difficult, and I will be showing other cases where the projects were possibly harmed.

Meanwhile, if this review project is only me, and no matter how much I manage to document, it will likely be useless. So I'm requesting that if any users are aware of global locks or blacklistings that might have been harmful to the project, please let me know. Right now, the study page I pointed to is mostly a collection of research notes, it is not the draft RfC.

Participation in drafting the RfC, when that starts, is also welcome, as is the correction of any errors noticed. I will be looking for cosigners. I am not likely to file if nobody is willing to "second" it. (I have argued that meta should require cosigners, as en.wikipedia does. It could reduce the number of frivolous RfCs.)

This is not a "bash the stewards and administrators" project. Stewards and administrators do a huge amount of often unappreciated work. In that large body of work, it can be expected that there will be some errors. Key to avoiding serious harm is establishing process for reviewing work, when that is needed. Please help. --Abd (talk) 21:31, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure I can help, but I do strongly support careful review of this process (or lack of process). I would offer the specific fact that often one way to appeal a long-term block on en:wp is to show good, non-conflict contributions to another project, which would generally be a WMF one. This supports your thesis that we should be extra-careful with global sanctions. Rich Farmbrough 12:29 8 May 2014 (GMT).
Yes, Rich. One of the most chilling examples I've found so far is a user who was blocked on itwiki for alleged BLP violation, who was globally locked by the steward he had revert warred with, and who then, in order to continue work on enwiki, registered a new account, disclosed as his sock. Both were then blocked on enwiki for "block evasion," though neither was blocked before and there was no allegation of local disruption. The user was told that he should appeal the lock on meta.
He appealed, using IP, but self-identifying, the appeal was summarily dismissed, deleted without being archived, and the IP was globally blocked.
Global lock is being used as a tool to globally ban, without on-wiki discussion. Global ban policy is being circumvented. --Abd (talk) 23:26, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Locks have some information at global locks, and it is bigger than just spam. Spam blacklist while technically named spam its use is generally about (mis|ab)used urls, and that is bigger than spam, which is generally the case across the wikis with such lists. Tying it all together and here with your slanted commentary makes it sinister. This looks more like yet another of your crusades to me, and with your (mis)representation of circumstance is unfortunate.

I have no issue with any review of practices, however, something led by you is going to be problematic with your history, and more likely to lead to further antagonism rather than an effective review. Talk pages already exist to effectively discuss each aspect of these components, try using them rather than a 'corpus of blunderbuss'.  — billinghurst sDrewth 13:59, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

It seems that there is a desire to make this personal. It's not.
Billinghurst is responding to claims I have not made. Locks and the blacklist are not only for spam. Most of what I have done so far is compile evidence with very little commentary.
However, I'm finding the global lock used as a tool for a steward to win an edit war, with no excuse, essentially, the pot calling the kettle black, and the user locked was following policy and the steward was not.
I'm seeing the global blacklist used to pursue a vendetta against the real person who runs a web site, misidentified as someone who once revert warred with the steward and who was globally locked by him and pursued, cross-wiki. The site appears to have been blacklisted with no identified abusive links.
Yes, I have a history, one of defending the original wiki vision from abuse, including administrative abuse. Not surprisingly, some administrators don't like that.
This request is for participation and collaboration. Billinghurst is willing to claim that I am misrepresenting circumstances, but not, apparently, to point to any specific errors, neither here nor there.
Billinghurst has suggested using the relevant Talk pages. That's a great idea, but I happen to think that the common wiki practice of diving into discussion without having evidence at hand is part of the reason why wiki process can be so frustrating. I will take these matters to the discussion pages, but I already know who watches the attached process pages (and one of these pages has no attached talk page, it is a Talk page for the Spam blacklist.) Discussion on that page was already strongly discouraged by Billinghurst.
I don't think there is anything particularly sinister here. There are stewards behaving like human beings. There is one steward who has a "visceral hatred" for "the use of Wikipedia for self-promotion," and he doesn't care about the "strict criteria," i.e., policy. That is almost a direct quote from him. He was proud of it, where he posted it, on his home wiki.
The problem is not that steward, the problem is a community that gives someone, so easily upset, the tools, and then fails to guide him with clear policy and supervise his usage. We are the problem.
As to leading, I'd rather not lead this. I'm simply investigating, for the most part, but I am finding stuff that calls for obvious action. I may take some of these actions, but if there is no community support, it's pretty predictable what will happen. We tend to shoot the messenger. --Abd (talk) 23:26, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Study preparing for RfC abruptly deleted and suppressed

  • Deletion log for 1 page (violation of privacy policy, please suppress)
  • deletion log for 14 pages. (Mass deletion of pages intended to harass/provoke other people, with many collateral damages.) (and then restoration to suppress).
  • Threat of block by the deleting steward if I requested undeletion.[2]
  • There was no intention to provoke and certainly no harassment. If there were any uncivil comments or unnecessary provocations on those pages, I was not notified, and I was careful about that. One on-wiki action had been taken from what I'd discovered, a request for delisting of, which was blacklisted without meeting spam blacklist requirements, as far as I've been able to find. [ The discussion] was remarkable.

The study pages, weeks of work, and discussion (by a steward and a global sysop, who did not object to the study), plus other RfC draft material, have been deleted and all but two talk pages suppressed, so that ordinary administrators cannot see them. There was nothing in those pages that is not in public logs or readily accessible, the study had been going on for weeks, was noticed here, and there was no warning of privacy violation or impending deletion.

"Privacy violation" is being used to conceal documentation of policy violations, including privacy policy. I am in communication with the person involved, and he was aware of the study. He denies being a banned editor, but,during the study and after I contacted him, he did register an account (first time, he claimed, using his real name), and it was immediately locked without cross-wiki or disruptive editing. The evidence compiled on one page, the first one deleted, by the involved steward, showed that it was unlikely he was the banned editor.

It is apparently impossible, on-wiki, to study steward behavior as shown in logs. I found substantial variation between policy and actual behavior, but it could easily be policy to be updated, and most behavior seemed proper. The pages were just research notes, including a review of the last 5000 account locks of 2013, so that subsequent discussion (as recommended by Billinhurst above), or RfC, would have factual foundation.

Absent community support, it is impossible to continue this work on-wiki.

If anyone is interested in community oversight of steward behavior, please respond here or email me. --Abd (talk) 16:32, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Mapedia - Wikimap

Hi, my name is Chris Thomas, I and a friend have been working on a Website called Mapedia for a few years now.

Mapedia is a WIKI map, with a focus on culture over commerce. Google maps, Bing Maps and so on are more about cafes and garages. Mapedia's focus is on culture, such as History, Art, Science.

We have been working on a link to Wikipedia via the Wikimedia API. This has allowed us to feature Wikipedia Articles with locations on our map. We did this, as starting with a totally blank WIKI map is not very inspiring. As a result, we have put together our own Mapedia WIKI map for Prehistory (UK centric for now), Architecture (world wide) and Monuments (modern) and we aim to expand our maps to cover the Roman Period, Anglo Saxon, Norman and more....

Please do check out the site, and let me know what you think. I can be emailed at, and I am open to any questions you may have on the map, on its content, the technology and so on. We think the website could be a valuable window onto the data that Wikipedia has provided. We also think that in time it could evolve into a secondary source of information for Wikipedia and any other Wikimedia projects that suit. We would hope to build some form of cyclical symbiosis, where Articles that appear on Wikipedia appear on Mapedia, and locations/articles added directly to Mapedia (remember, it has its own WIKI engine) could in turn be used to create new Articles on Wikipedia etc. Anyway, here is some info on to how to use Mapedia.

Searching To get going on it, simply select the Pick Location Type icon at the top left of the UI, select Prehistory and then click on the orange Search button to get some results back. The markers on the map can be clicked on, and if they represent a group of locations, you can hover over the group to see what is within, and double click that group to zoom in on it, so its members become visible. If you click on a single marker you can see info on it in the left hand pane.

Changing Location From there you can adjust the searches location using the type in Location box, or by dragging the blue (C) icon on the map. Dragging the green (R) icon adjusts the radius of the search, and you can also use the Max Distance slider to do this as well. As you drag the C icon around the map, the results are updated in real time. This allows you to move the focus of the Search around and explore the landscape. This works even better once you have ticked some Options.

Options For Prehistory we have Location and Facilities & Orgs Option groups. Options are filters that can be changed to limit the locations that you can see. For Prehistory you can choose the larger periods, Stone Age, Bronze Age and so on. You can also filter your locations by their type, like Settlements or Burials. In Facilities and Orgs we list which organisations are associated with these sites. You'll note that Wikipedia is associated for all of our current sites (as they are sourced from there, live!) and we also give credit for this on each Article as it is displayed, with the Wikipedia name.

All of these Locations and Options were gleaned from Wikipedia. However, if you create an account with us, you can....

  • Create new locations, using a drag and drop system
  • Edit existing and new locations, by changing their Title and Options
  • Add new material to the location, allowing you to contribute informational articles, photographs, comments, reviews and so on.

So, if you do find any locations that you know the Options are wrong on, or which could be improved with adjustments to its Options, adding more accuracy, then please do create an account and have a go at editing these locations.

Anyway, please do check out the map, and let me know what you think.


Chris Thomas -- 22:13, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Toxic editing environment on Wikipedia

When will the WMF start doing something about the toxic editing environment on Wikipedia and the culture of allowing the admins on that site to do violate policy and get away with it. More and more editors and even admins are leaving the site, more and more editors are being blocked for petty reasons like criticizing Admins bad decisions or the failures of the Arbitration committee. There are less than 100 admins on that site that edit more than 30 times a week (about 550 that edit 30 times every 60 days) yet the work is increasing for those admins. The site cannot promote more than 1 or 2 a month because there is almost no trust left in the community there. So unless the WMF is willing to step in and do something besides anger the community by making style changes to fonts or releasing software that is nowhere near complete like visual editor, the environment will continue to deteriorate. We do not need to disseminate funds to outside organizations until the flagship project's problem of attrition is brought under control. Reguyla (talk) 11:50, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

I assume by "Wikipedia" you mean the English Wikipedia. I don't see "making sure the English Wikipedia doesn't have internal political issues" as the role of the Foundation per se but I do see it as the role of all editors, especially the more experienced ones, who value the English Wikipedia. I would guess that many if not most employees, officers, and "official" volunteers with the Foundation would be considered "more experienced editors on en-Wiki" and I would take it as a given that they all value the English Wikipedia whether that is their "home" Wiki or not. Editors who happen to be affiliated with the Foundation should participate in solving this issue as editors of the English Wikipedia not as representatives of the Foundation. Editors who happen to be affiliated with the Foundation and who are "experienced en-Wiki" editors are strongly encouraged to bring their experience and wisdom to any discussions involving identifying and solving any serious internal problems that the English Wikipedia may have.
Having said that, if any Wikipedia is suffering from administrative overload to the point that the project is suffering in critical ways that require an urgent solution, the Foundation and/or the Stewards can and should let the existing administrators (and, where applicable, bureaucrats and en:WP:ARBCOM or any equivalent) know that if the most critical issues aren't addressed internally soon, the Foundation will step in with just enough help to solve the critical problems, but no more. If the leadership of any Wikipedia asks the Foundation or the stewards for help, they should give as much help as they reasonably can, given that they also have other responsibilities.
There is something you, Reguyla, can do: Identify and nominate (with their permission of course) experienced en-Wiki editors who have a track record of good decision-making and nothing in their history that would make RFA unlikely to succeed. Likewise, if you know administrators or administrator-quality editors on the Commons, other-language Wikis, or other Foundation projects who have a good grasp of the English Language, ask them to consider becoming a regular editor on the English Wikipedia. After they've put in what most RFA participants would consider "minimum time" (usually several months to a year and several thousand manual edit with a good mix of namespaces), ask if they want to be nominated for adminiship on en-Wiki. Davidwr/talk 17:06, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Excellent advice from David and I don't want to detract from your positive response, but it might be difficult for someone like Reguyla to nominate others as admin-candidates, let alone edit on en-wiki, considering that they are "Blocked indefinitely. Reason: Revoking talk page access: inappropriate use of user talk page while blocked: {{checkuserblock-account}}".
More notably, Reguyla has been identified as a sock-puppet of Kumioko who was banned from en-wiki a few weeks ago.
Reguyla's edits on en-wiki began with a bizarre request for AutoWikiBrowser access and a general refusal to comply with even the simplest of requests by an admin (i.e. confirm that they are the same person on another wiki by posting a small confirmation). My guess is that they are not the same person, which is why en-wiki Reguyla was being coy about the request. The entire drama can be seen here. There is no doubt that there are matters which need addressing on en-wiki but I can't help thinking that this thread is more of a reaction to being banned and blocked from editing than a genuine concern about the en-wiki editing atmosphere. Did Reguyla notice this toxicity only after being banned and blocked?
Drama aside, there is a genuine issue which really does need some attention and that is the rapidly dwindling group of active admins. Sure there is a steward-led programme about admin inactivity but it doesn't cover en-wiki. David's suggestion is a good medium-term solution but there is a way of boosting the admin ranks in the short-term. En-wiki has a number of groups of non-admin editors who have been granted some of the tools that have been unbundled from the admin-tools. The most exclusive of these are the 77 template editors and the 372 file movers, together with about 3,000 autopatrolled and about 5,000 rollbackers. These are the most trusted editors outside the admin group. As an interim measure, it would be tremendously helpful to en-wiki if a cross-section of these editors were offered probationary adminships (maybe 3 months at a time), at the end of which they could be confirmed on a more permanent basis if they have performed well. The cross-section I was thinking of would be any active editor who has had any of these four tools for at least a year and not been blocked at least in the past 2 years. Preference should be given to template editors and file movers and especially to anyone that has more than one tool. I would post this at the en-wiki Village Pump but that area is filled with detractors who have nothing better to do than hang around to boo-boo any decent proposals whilst also stalking Jimbo's talkpage, just in case there is a fight they can pick. 22:14, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
@David, actually you would be wrong about the employees at the WMF because less than half even contribute to Wikipedia. Most have an account, but they rarely edit. Additionally, the admin system on EnWiki is a joke and is just as broken as anything else. The admins on the site have gotten to the point where they are completely exempt from policy and know it. Most editors won't even submit an RFA because the RFA process is a nightmare, most that do pass don't have the skills to be an admin, they are just the sort that will just go along and get along and that is what has led us to where it is now. I also wouldn't wish the RFA process on anyone so no I will not be submitting anyone to go through that nonsense. If they want to commit suicide on Wiki they can do that without my help. If the WMF doesn't want to get involved, then they can be responsible for the eventual collapse of the project when the community fails.
@ First, this account was never a sockpuppet it was a legitimate account used for a legitimate purpose. Second, I was banned for criticizing the admins and the arbs on ENWP...that was after I did about 500, 000 edits over the years, maintained a reputation for being able to code even the difficult templates, created several hundred articles and developed several to GA, FL and FA. Next, I have never denied being Kumioko nor should I. I didn't create any "socks" until after I was banned because I do not recognize my ban. Also, if the admins don't respect the policy and rules of Wikipedia why should I? As for trusted users, there is no trust in Wikipedia. None! and that is a large part of the problem. I do sincerely agree with your ending statement. The community on ENWP is utterly incapable of doing anything remotely resembling change and love to pick fights. That's all they do there is fight. Reguyla (talk) 02:59, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Incidentally, and to make Reguyla's point, the block message is an abuse of Checkuser privileges. On English Wikipedia it is permitted for a Checkuser to tag a block they are making due to knowledge gained solely as a Checkuser which cannot be shared with {{checkuserblock-account}} or similar. Specifically it was glaringly obvious that en:Reguyla is Kumioko, no magic pixie dust needed. T Canens can be forgiven, perhaps, since he had a lot of accounts to block (though the accuracy of these blocks has been disputed anyway, I believe) - on the other hand AGK and Courcelles have previously made the same blunder, and refused to correct it. This "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude is at the heart of 90% of the drama on en:WP.
Rich Farmbrough 11:56 8 May 2014 (GMT).

It is true that it is not the Foundation's job to tell volunteers to "play nice". Nonetheless the Foundation can help create an environment conducive to collegial editing. Wikilove, and much more importantly in my opinion, "thanks" work well to this end. Other initiatives have fallen by the wayside. To be more effective the Foundation could commission social science research that would enable more targeted use of resources. A tongue in cheek example, on saving a talk page comment, a pop-up could appear if the comment contains the words "sigh", "facepalm" or "tosh", saying something like "Really save? The wording seems a little strong." Rich Farmbrough 11:56 8 May 2014 (GMT).

Fuck, I'll contribute to the kickstarted to get that coded and a patch submitted to bugzilla. Eudora had that feature, and it was, I'm recall being told, widely used and more widely appreciated. (I didn't use it, but I recall it would put up 1-4 'chilies' depending on the 'hotness' in the email the user had tried to send.) Then Eudora went open source/switched to the Thunderbird codebase; I'm not sure if the open source code base included the feature; if so we could copy it. Good discussion. --Elvey (talk) 02:49, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Elvey , you might try following Rich's advise manually, then programatically! Rich , I would like to suggest adding the word combination, "all defensive" to "facepalm" etc. I do not have a problem with Elvey's use of Fuck as an exclamatory, to indicate enthusiastic assent. --FeralOink (talk) 20:09, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
I just wanted to add a comment about the mention of "leadership of Wikipedia" above. Wikipedia as with most of the Wiki's doesn't have any leadership and thats the problem. The vast majority of those in "leadership" were put there because they stayed below the radar and didn't ruffle any feathers. Now the En.Wikipedia has largely been taken over by POV pushers, admins who are allowed to do whatever they want regardless of policy wiht no oversight, and Arbitration committee that is about as corrupt as the American congress (and about as worthless to boot) and thats on top of the myriad of other problems like long backlogs at the venues because there aren't enough expereinced editors to do the work, WikiProjects that are allowed to "own" the articles in their scope, etc. The en.Wikipedia has been allowed by the negligence or at least benign neglect, of the WMF to devolve into a smoldering cesspool. If the WMF is even remotely serious about improving editor morale, the number of editors or editor retention, then they need to take some action to clean house. No one is watching the henhouse and the foxes are carrying away all the chickes. Pretty soon all that will be left is rotten eggs, and chicken shit. And everyone know you can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit! Reguyla (talk) 20:22, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Can't resist making a "small" comment here. The toxic atmosphere on Wikipedia isn't being caused by leadership, or dearth of wikilove, or any of those conventional notions. Wikipedia is first and foremost a self-organizing system, whose atmosphere is a consequence of its dynamics — with some part played by the inertia of its corporate culture.

  • The social dynamics of the project, which are meant to protect against short-term breakdowns such as flame wars, are in the long term favorable to trolls of a refined sort. The short, somewhat oversimplified version of this is, AGF protects trolls.
  • The workflow of the project emphasizes making subjective decisions by allowing them to be thrashed out over time. Thus actively promoting perpetual controversy and divisiveness. It's hard to see how to "fix" this since encyclopedias traditionally do involve a lot of subjectivity, but whether the subjectivity is unavoidable has no bearing on whether or not it's a problem.
  • The whole infrastructure of the project does nothing to encourage a fact-based worldview as opposed to an agenda-based worldview. On way to tell the difference is, if someone justifies their position by citing some facts, and you point out those facts are wrong, if they're fact-based their instinct will be to further investigate the facts and consider the implications for their position, whereas if they're agenda-based they'll just look for a way to twist the "new" facts to promote their position. What's really appalling is that people can be agenda-based without even realizing it, apparently really believing that "discussion" consists of inventing claims to support one's position. Remember all those US Republicans who were genuinely surprised when Romney didn't beat Obama by a landslide?
  • Wikipedia lacks a clear set of common goals with which to knit a single community together. You get things like people putting great and enthusiastic effort into writing articles that some other group then nominate for deletion because they think the topic is beneath the dignity of an encylcopedia, or the like — groups working at cross-purposes. Again, this may be intrinsic to an encyclopedia, but even if so, that doesn't make it less of a problem.

Most sister projects try to minimize subjective decisions. Most sister projects have more specialized missions, allowing a greater sense of common purpose, and making it easier to minimize subjective decisions.

The flaws in Wikipedia's dynamics weren't obvious until they'd had a bunch of years to work, indeed things like AGF looked like strengths at first; I don't know quite how to correct some flaws, don't know if others can be corrected, and don't know if the momentum of the corporate culture could be overcome even if one did fix the underlying dynamics at this point. But I do think the toxicity problem won't be improved by overlooking its root causes.

Whether the WMF can play a role in addressing the problems... is obscure to me. --Pi zero (talk) 12:44, 6 June 2014 (UTC)


Hello and sorry for my bad english, but catalan wikipedia needs HELP:

When rour kids read "Spain does not exist" in keep calm and relax. Reach an agreement and make elections to decide if Spain exists, or if it was all a matrix, Neo. Be happy to see how a few destroy the historical legacy, cultural and sports of a sovereign state, because they mistake language with nationalism

There is some ENCICLOPAEDIC CORRUPTION SCANDAL in Wikipedia in Catalan language (NOT “Wiki of 20% of secessionist extremist liars of North of Catalonia”) A legion of secessionist extremists is writing LIES and FALSE or INVENTED things and ¡¡¡PLEASE READ!!! placing regions or provinces in Listings of States! to confuse in Wikipedia. And they attack non-secessionist people who try to make any change in that disgusting Wikipedia.


…And moooooore news of LIES and PAID ELECTORAL ADVERTISING are in that enciclopaedic corrupted Wikipedia: Secessionism subsidizes “Viquipèdia” defining Catalonia as a “European country” The Catalan edition of the encyclopedia received 9,241 euros to do that in 2012 (and 2013 and more…)

Oh God, I hope that BRUTAL BIAS of 20% of extremism secessionists from Northern Catalonia will fall and we, the 80% of Catalonia that we don’t want a war, and the 95% of others catalan speaking regions (Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, etc) one day we can write in that Wikipedia BECAUSE IS WIKIPEDIA IN CATALAN LANGUAGE (Not “The secessionist wiki of a 5% of ALL CATALAN LANGUAGE TERRITORIES)

And on privacy: When a privacy policy is complicated and difficult to read, is that it is not good. Regards. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:17, 19 May 2014‎

I believe we had this discussion last year. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:07, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, PiRSquared. Deja vu all over again. For old times' sake, I inserted the image and caption from that mess, it gives some flesh to the shouting. As to the philosophy, people may indeed mistake language for nationalism, but they may even more mistake language for reality, as if existence depends on words and elections, and as if shouting makes something more true or more important. --Abd (talk) 02:24, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Reported to the local Village Pump.--Unapersona (talk) 18:20, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Re: « BRUTAL BIAS of 20% of extremism secessionists from Northern Catalonia » ... I don't know what you're speaking about because there's absolutelu nothing heard about secessionism in "Northern Catalonia" (the southernmost part Roussillon in France) and absolultely no brutality of violence there, and Catalan coexists very peacefully with Occitan and French (which is for most of its part a creation from Occitan and Catalan when they were still only one language, much more than other Oil languages). However we hear a lot in News about secessionists in *Southern Catalonia* (i.e. the autonomous community in Spain). There's no problem in Andorra. The problem is cealrly within the suburbs of the metropolitain area of Barcelona...
And in terms of butality, shouting with capitals is extremely brutal. And how can we hear that from someone that even refuses to sign and posts this anonymously ? And I do not see any relation with your mixing of sports? Or elections? Please ignore that shouting post, it is just a collection of insults and misbehavior... Noone can solve any oroblem with such an attitude.
Finally everything is mixed up, what has the privacy policy do do with that ? It is very well written staring by its summary you may navigate if you want to get more details where they are relevant. It is easy then to follow any topic; you can read the side notes that are stil lshorter than the main text, you have several levels of readings and summaries, but things cannot be as simple as what is in summaries, we need more precision to make sure the policy will be effective and will not be circumvented due to lack of precision in weakly borderline cases ... Try finding as clear in other privacy statements of other websites as on Wikimedia (for exampel try to get info about the effective practices of your ISP with its unredable contract and terms of subscription and use; or in any large portal site or any merchant site that just attempts to explain you that they protect your privacy by "offerring you" to grant them an **exclusive** and non-recoverable licence on ALL your private data and for all uses they'll want, including for reselling your data; you also grant them a permanent right to change the terms when they want without even informing you ! Most use opt-out, not opt-in, and some even use only temporary opt-out, and they keep our data for eternity...) verdy_p (talk) 11:47, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Global CU policy

Hi all, with SUL finalization fast approaching (yay!) and the current situation of stewards checking on the loginwiki, I think now is a good time to update the 9 year old CheckUser policy to deal with a global CU. I've created a draft at CheckUser policy/Global CheckUser draft; if you have concerns or comments (or any feedback at all!), please indicate so on the talk page! This includes whether it should exist in the first place, etc. Thanks, Ajraddatz (talk) 04:41, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

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Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 - California Business and Professions Code sections 22575-22579

I've been looking at the new privacy policy. In connection with another matter, I've also been looking at what I take to be the relevant legislation in California (this is a link to the relevant sections).

The issue I want to raise concerns 22575 b (1), which reads: "The privacy policy required by subdivision (a) shall do all of the following:( 1) Identify the categories of personally identifiable information that the operator collects through the Web site or online service about individual consumers who use or visit its commercial Web site or online service and the categories of third-party persons or entities with whom the operator may share that personally identifiable information."

I'm uncertain (and would appreciate clarification) but it seems to me that the latter clause about sharing information must apply when abuse reports are filed with ISPs. The privacy policy cites the IP address as an item of personal information and 22577 a (6,7) of the CA codes implies that the IP address is also envisaged as personally identifiable information.

That ISPs are third-party entities with which Wikimedia may share personally identifiable information is in fact only ascertained on referring to an associated FAQ. I'm not sure that can be entirely wise (the FAQ states at the outset it is not part of the privacy policy), but the issue I want to raise concerns "categories". It happens that ISPs can sometimes be institutions such as schools, hosiptals, the armed services, and so on, and these might well be the user's employers. No doubt it often happens that when making an abuse complaint, Wikimedia will in fact be contacting an employer with potentially vexatious effect on the user. Of course that's unfortunate, but it's also so that Wikimedia does sometimes knowingly contact an employer in making that ISP report (the matter I refer to above which initiated my enquiry). In those circumstances, to comply with 22575 b (1), it should be made clear that this might happen, that third-party categories might include the user's employers, and in any case, in the spirit of presenting a privacy policy all can understand, that ought to be made clear.

I invite comment. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 11:09, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Hi Coat of Many Colours, thank you for your comment. We believe that we are in compliance with CalOPPA. If you refer to the guidelines issued by California’s Attorney General, you will see that the law requires organizations to “explain [their] uses of personally identifiable information beyond what is necessary for . . . the basic functionality of an online service.” The guidelines further state that the privacy policy should include “categories of third parties with whom the operator may share the personally identifiable information.” If the Foundation were to share personally identifiable information with a user’s service provider because the user was abusing one of our sites, we believe that that sharing would be in line with protecting “the basic functionality” of the site.
Even if it doesn’t fall within basic functionality, reporting a user to their service provider to protect our sites from vandalism is directly addressed in our privacy policy. The “categor[y] of third parties with whom [we] may share the personally identifiable information” is described in the “To Protect You, Ourselves & Others” section of the Privacy Policy. You are correct that the section I just mentioned links to a FAQ which then states that user information may be shared with a service provider, but we believe that including this information in the FAQ section does not violate CalOPPA. The CalOPPA guidelines refer to a recommended approach of “supplement[ing] a comprehensive privacy policy with simpler, shorter privacy notices to alert consumers to potentially unexpected data practices.” We do not think that it is unexpected to users that we would share their information with their service provider in order to stop them from vandalizing our sites, but even if it is unexpected, we have included a category of third parties we may share data with “To Protect You, Ourselves & Others” and we have provided more details in a supplement, the FAQ. RPatel (WMF) (talk) 19:39, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
There is a question also of transmitting personal information between the US and the EU, which is done, for example, by CheckUsers based in the EU, and by users of the mailing lists maintained by WMF. This may bring this data in the scope of the EU directive on data protection, and indeed under the remit of the relevant national bodies. Bodies within the community that handle personal information (which all have agency relationships with the WMF), especially those having members in the UK should be registered with the Data Protection Registrar. Rich Farmbrough 23:43 26 May 2014 (GMT).
Hi Rich Farmbrough. The question of whether E.U. laws, including the Data Directive, apply to WMF was brought up during the privacy policy consultation. You will find some of the discussion here. To summarize, WMF is located in the United States, thus we follow United States laws. CheckUsers, although valued volunteers, are not the Foundation’s agents, and the same goes for users of our mailing lists. Accordingly, we do not believe that the activities you mentioned fall within the scope of the EU data directive, at least with respect to WMF. RPatel (WMF) (talk) 00:06, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Global renames

See SN#Preparing_for_global_renames permalink PiRSquared17 (talk) 03:35, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Checkuser abuse in the Spanish Wikipedia

Hi guys, I'd like to know the place to report the abuse of checkusers in the Spanish Wikipedia, with potential bleach of the data retention policy. Best regards --Discasto (talk) 19:59, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I believe the Ombudsman commission is what you could be looking for. Regards, Vogone (talk) 20:36, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

OK, thanks. Do they handle several languages or do I have to write in English? --Discasto (talk) 22:31, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

At least three of them speak a basic level of Spanish (two speak es-1, one speaks es-2), but English will be more easily understood. I think it would be preferable to write in English, but they would probably be able to at least understand your message in Spanish. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:33, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Discasto what is happened on Spanish Wikipedia? --Kolega2357 (talk) 22:36, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, it's a funny story. If you can read Spanish it's pretty much described in User:Discasto/Desbloqueo. I'll try to translate, but my English is possibly not enough.
On February 22, a CU verification on me was required. It was alleged that I was a sockpuppet of Ecemaml, who is indefinitely blocked on the Spanish Wikipedia (BTW, when this user required to be unblocked, a majority of admins and users accepted the request... he was not unblocked, since some admins alleged lack of consensus... yes, you know, consensus does not mean the same in the Spanish Wikipedia than in the rest of the Wikimedia projects... to see how harmful I can be for the Spanish Wikipedia you can read this article, it's a good article candidate and sincerely, you won't be able to find a better piece of knowledge about this woman, the mother of the assassin of Trotsky anywhere, feel free to translate it into English, it would be a really nice work). According to Bernard "Con los datos actuales son perfiles técnicos claramente diferenciados. No hay pues relación" (translation: With the information currenlty available, they are two clearly distinct technical profiles. Thus, there is no relationship [between them). The verification was required against users allegedly used by Ecemaml. Both the user Discasto and an IP address that I had used to openly edit were available. So, yes, that's right: no relationship.
More than three months afterwards, another verification was requested and now, Bernard said "according to the checkuser tool", that I'm a sock puppet of Ecemaml (see here), and I'm wondering how it can be possible provided that I have always edited with the same Mac, from the same location and with the same ISP. The explaination seems to be weird (at least for me): "Efectivamente en su momento ya se hizo un SVU a Discasto que dio negativo. Al hacerse con pocas ediciones los datos que teníamos para comparar eran escasos. Sin embargo, con los datos actuales sí se aprecian novedades que permiten relacionar ambas cuentas" (translation: A CU verification was indeed done at a given time and the result was negative. As it was carried out with very few editions, we had shortage of information to compare with. Now, with the information currently available, it is possible to observe news that allow to find a relationship between both accounts)
You see the weird situation if you consider that the checkuser information is no longer available after three months (at least is what the Foundation says (This information is only stored for a short period (currently 3 months), so edits made prior to that will not be shown via CheckUser, information that can be accessed by the CheckUser tool is deleted after three months y Personal information - Cllected automatically from a user - [is deleted After at most 90 days, it will be deleted, aggregated, or anonymized]). So, how is that possible? On February, Bernard could not find anything (it had data to compare with). On June, without any data to compare with, he was able to find a coincidence. Come on, Bernard was lying either in February or in June, but both statements can't be true at the same time.
Of course that the checkusers in the Spanish Wikipedia could have been recording locally the information gathered from the checkuser tool (it would be illegal according to the Spanish legislation and I don't know if allowed by the Foundation, in fact a former checkuser in the Spanish Wikipedia openly stated that CU information was not actually deleted from the Foundation systems and that at the end checkuser could access such information when "necessary", but I don't think that's true) to be used in for future verifications, but if that were the case, how did the February verification was negative if they had the same amount of available information to compare with in June (I've verified that any of the alleged Ecemaml's users edited in these three months)? An interesting point is that I was preparing the desysoping request for an admin that was sponsored by the same CU that in February wasn't able to find a coincidence but three months later, with much less information was finally able to find the longed coincidence. Is there an abuse? Well, for me it's pretty evident, especially as it's not possible that a neutral third party verifies that and especially when the mentioned CU is also an admin (which has shared in the past location information about users being investigated with his fellow administrators in a mailing list) and also one of those minority admins that successfully refused the unblocking of Ecemaml. That's all. Is that possible that the Ombudsman Commission say anything? I don't know. Best regards --Discasto (talk) 22:16, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Just a note that Discasto, according to the checkuser tool, is a sock puppet of Ecemaml, who is indefinitely blocked on the Spanish Wikipedia. Over the years, several claims of CU abuse have been brought up by him, but none of them have actually been confirmed. LlamaAl (talk) 02:11, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

How do you know that? Are you part of the Ombudsman Commission? AFAIK, only one claim about a former CU that used CU information to blackmail other users has been brought up by Ecemaml to the Ombudsman Commission, but after one year time (such Commission seems to be there just for the Foundation to say that there is a place where common users can complain, but does not work at all), it asked a summary of the complaint to finally say that such a behavior was not a bleach of the privacy policy. So my conclusion, especially considering what I've said above ("a former checkuser in the Spanish Wikipedia openly stated that CU information was not actually deleted from the Foundation systems and that at the end checkuser could access such information when "necessary"), is that the Privacy Policy and the like is bullshit and that CU's work with complete impunity. But you know, Llama, that having sockpuppets is not a so bad thing, don't you? --Discasto (talk) 22:16, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Using of wikipedia as web address


I've found a website which use the word "wikipedia" in its address. See it. Is it authorized by the Foundation trademark policy ? - Bzh-99 (talk) 22:14, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

You should, probably, contact Ruslik (talk) 11:03, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Meta-Wiki administrators willing to provide copies of deleted Meta-Wiki pages

Are there any Meta-Wiki administrators willing to provide copies of deleted Meta-Wiki pages, who would like to announce that they are so willing? Thanks. Leucosticte (talk) 12:05, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

The correct forum is WM:RFH or Meta:Babel, not here. Do you have a specific request? PiRSquared17 (talk) 12:14, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Emailed yesterday. Who knows, it may have gone to the spam folder. Leucosticte (talk) 14:00, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I was asked about this offline, as I deleted a page you are requesting - a piece of pedophilia advocacy. This was inappropriate in the first place; so is asking others to email it to you. Since you were already asked in no uncertain terms to drop the topic entirely, I am inclined to reinstate MZM's block. SJ talk  18:54, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Hi all, is related to Looking for information on Antoine Paternotte, proce specifically "Urbs mea nomen Athum, mercatu florida, mire est Carole, in obsequum dedita tota tuum", it suddenly appeared. Lotje (talk) 15:08, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, is where the string you mention appears and it is a subdomain of contains no such string. --Nemo 15:14, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Rectius: I see some search engine indexes a search result on which returns that sentence. Yes, is a legitimate domain owned by Wikimédia France. --Nemo 15:18, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Great, thank you. Lotje (talk) 15:54, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Media Viewer is now live on this wiki

Media Viewer lets you see images in larger size


The Wikimedia Foundation's Multimedia team is happy to announce that Media Viewer was just released on this site today.

Media Viewer displays images in larger size when you click on their thumbnails, to provide a better viewing experience. Users can now view images faster and more clearly, without having to jump to separate pages — and its user interface is more intuitive, offering easy access to full-resolution images and information, with links to the file repository for editing. The tool has been tested extensively across all Wikimedia wikis over the past six months as a Beta Feature and has been released to the largest Wikipedias, all language Wikisources, and the English Wikivoyage already.

If you do not like this feature, you can easily turn it off by clicking on "Disable Media Viewer" at the bottom of the screen, pulling up the information panel (or in your your preferences) whether you have an account or not. Learn more in this Media Viewer Help page.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about Media Viewer. You are invited to share your feedback in this discussion on in any language, to help improve this feature. You are also welcome to take this quick survey in English, en français, o español.

We hope you enjoy Media Viewer. Many thanks to all the community members who helped make it possible. - Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 21:54, 19 June 2014 (UTC) --This message was sent using MassMessage. Was there an error? Report it!

It still is kinda slow to load. Leucosticte (talk) 13:47, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Definitely not slow for me. But yes it takes some time to load the actual high resolution photo, the mediaviewer still shows instantly the low resolution image of the thumbnail while loading the high resolution version (and for that time, you see the progress bar at bottom of the image).
Then I can can close it, and reopen it later or from a new navigation window; it is in fact very fast (even faster to load than most wiki pages) contaning many thumbnails such as galeries in Commons.
But may be you are requesting a maximum resolution for the Media Viewer, requiring you to click on the maximize button at top-right to view the full resolution (and possibly loading it only when zoomng inside with additional scollbars or click-and-drag to load the rest of the image sent in a "tiled" format? This would require some additional development in MediaWiki in order to allow it to produce separate tiles on demand, from the full resolution image. verdy_p (talk) 02:52, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Centralization of wikis in general

I was wondering if there was a website out there, that could allow easy unifications of all wikis, from all hosters, whether from Wikimedia, Wikia, Atlassian, or just any wiki out there. See, I am an Administrator on a small biblical-history wiki, with one active contributor aside from myself. This contributor is desperately wanting administration rights;however, they are lacking the maturity and experience to lead so. I am very involved in the site creating many on-site edits, reviewing the edits of the one contributor, etc. I do have much Administration work related to the site directly, but as well as some few indirect, external resources that are used in conjunction with the site (like me posting this for example), and a sister project to the wiki, not being a wiki, but being open source. Much of my on-site work requires a joint-admin effort in order to build, organize and plan certain features and the like. I lacking in my wikitext knowledge (liking a direction of an organized set of tutorials that can teach start from finish how to learn wikitext beginner's to advanced) and the assistance of a fellow experienced admin (I do have experience in social aspects, tools etc, skills required to be a qualified admin). I was wondering in conclusion if there was a site I could perhaps recruit a qualified admin (through extensive means to find a qualified one) in order to assist me in growing the wiki. This wiki is not a wikimedia wiki. Thanks --Superdadsuper (talk) 18:56, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

A technical suggestion: plausible deniability for checkusers

Though fortunately we know this has never happened, I am quite worried about if some infamous government agencies try to compromise Checkusers on different wikis and try to extort access from them, like the case when French DCRI pressured French wikipedia admin Rémi Mathis to delete an article[3]. If such case happens, the checkuser will face a hard choice: either face detention/torture, or give them access and let them rip anything they want from our privacy, and face criticism for being immoral afterwards. Both choices are not pleasant.

I have an idea to avoid this dilemma: Let the system give a checkuser two passwords, say A and B, A is for everyday use and B is for plausible deniability. When goverment agencies ask the checkuser to give them access, the checkuser gives them password B. When password B is used to log on to the wikimedia server, we will know that that checkuser might be compromised and we can remove the access. When government agencies use password B to perform Checkuser actions, the system will yield false checkuser data instead of real ones. In that way we can avoid privacy leakage and criticism of leaking privacy.

Furthermore, If government agencies somehow find the real data (for example by traffic analysis or by fishing the target) and think we are intentionally tricking them, we can just explain that as a "technical problem", since they will never know.--朝鲜的轮子 (talk) 07:01, 30 June 2014 (UTC)